BOOKS: SEX, LIES AND PSYCHOPATHS

THE END OF ALICE GRUESOMELY UNRAVELS THE MIND OF A SADIST

LAST WINTER DANCE CRITIC Arlene Croce wrote a controversial essay for the New Yorker in which she discussed choreographer Bill T. Jones' production Still/Here without having seen it. She justified her unorthodox move by claiming she didn't have to sit through the piece, a treatise on aids and other terminal illnesses, to know what she was going to get--a lot of easy emotionalism. Certain kinds of art, literature and film, Croce argued, are too manipulative to be judged objectively, too predictable, essentially, to be bothered with.

Confronted with the task of reviewing The End of Alice (Scribner; 270 pages; $22), the...

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